Perception of lower limb spasticity in patients with spinal cord injury.
SourceSpinal Cord, 47, 5, (2009), pp. 396-400
Article / Letter to editor
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Centre for Quality of Care Research
SubjectNCEBP 6: Quality of nursing and allied health care; NCEBP 6: Quality of nursing and allied health care
STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. OBJECTIVE: To study the manifestation of spasticity in daily life of the patients with spinal cord injury, their perception of spasticity and spasticity-related discomfort. SETTING: Rehabilitation center in the Netherlands. METHODS: Twenty-six patients with motor complete spinal cord injury (SCI) and spasticity in the lower limbs completed a questionnaire. The following outcome measures were used: manifestation of spasticity, activities during which spasticity occurs, perceived degree of spasticity and resulting discomfort, measured with visual analog scale (VAS) and Borg scale, respectively. RESULTS: In general, spasticity manifested as extensor spasms (84.6%), flexor spasms and/or clonus (both 69.2%), and less often as continuous tension (57.7%). The registered activities were categorized into five main groups: 'changing position' was the largest group (22.0%) with a median VAS of 6.8 (range: 2.5-9.5) and median Borg scale of 3.0 (range: 1.0-7.0). Other groups of activities were 'making a transfer' (20.7%), 'activities of daily living' (17.1%), 'being active' (17.1%) and 'stable body position' (12.2%). The overall correlation between VAS and Borg was moderate (Spearman's rho=0.53, P=0.005). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with complete SCI experienced several manifestations of spasticity, extensor spasms being the most common. Many daily life activities elicited different manifestations of spasticity. The experienced discomfort was only moderately related to the perceived degree of spasticity during an activity. Possibly, the discomfort is influenced by other factors than the perceived spasticity alone.
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